Opinion

Tenancy agreement explained

The AHRI program under the guidance of the KUU-US Crisis Line Society assists the homeless or those at risk of homelessness by providing access to emergency housing, vacancy rentals, public education, advocacy support and clothing/household items.

As part of the series on awareness on homelessness issues, this article will focus on the definition of a tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant. The BC Residential Tenancy Act and the BC Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act are the laws governing tenancy agreements.

A tenancy agreement must be in writing and it must contain terms that outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties, including standard terms that are required under the tenancy laws.

The standard terms cannot be omitted from a tenancy agreement.

A landlord is responsible for ensuring that any tenancy agreement entered into or renewed after July 1, 1996, complies in all respects with residential tenancy law including the applicable Regulation. The Regulations state that standard terms, whether included or not in the written tenancy agreement, form part of the agreement.

Sometimes, potential tenants are surprised when a landlord wants to do a credit check and question whether this might be an invasion of privacy. However, the BC Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act allows a landlord to obtain a credit report for a person entering into or renewing a tenancy agreement, with the tenant’s written consent.

If the person does not consent to the landlord obtaining a credit report, the landlord may choose not to enter into a tenancy agreement with that person.

Similarly, a landlord may ask a tenant for his or her social insurance number if a social insurance number is necessary to prove the tenant’s identity or to conduct a credit check.

However, a landlord must not, as a condition of renting to a tenant, require a tenant to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information beyond what is necessary to provide the service.

 

Petra Barnfield is Kuu-us Crisis Services Homeless Coordinator and Advocate.

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